SICK Releases Smart Light Tower

By Joel Davies -

SICK has launched the Smart Light Tower, a reimagining of the industrial light stack as a customisable product that can communicate the real-time operational and maintenance status of machinery.

The SICK Smart Light Tower uses the benefits of IO-Link so that both machine builders and end-users can program real-time displays and audible signals to support wide-ranging operational, maintenance, and management goals. The SICK Smart Light Tower can be installed via a single cable and an IO-Link Master and programmed through a graphical interface with a standard PC.

“Setting up a SICK Smart Light Tower is limited only by your imagination”, said Charlie Walker, SICK’s UK Product Specialist – Presence Detection. “Where traditional light towers are restricted by a modular assembly of different colours at set positions, the SICK Smart Light Tower has 20 sets of LEDs that can be programmed to display any of 21 colours, either illuminated continuously or flashing, strobing or pulsating at user-selectable frequencies.

“IO-Link connectivity offers the cost-saving benefits of using unshielded cables and fewer input and output cards. The Smart Light Tower can be quickly integrated into the PLC program to display higher-level management and performance data. We have even demonstrated its ability to indicate a real-time calculation of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)”.

SICK’s Tower uses three operating modes: signal light, level meter, or animation to communicate the run status of machines and alert operating personnel to maintenance tasks or emergency conditions. It can be fitted to a wide variety of fixed machinery, as well as on mobile vehicles such as AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots), offering the benefit of long-distance visibility to enable a management overview of several machines over a production or logistics hall.

High-brightness LEDs, positioned around the full 360° circumference of the tower, ensure the light signals can be seen from long distances whilst up to five vertical segments can be configured for more straightforward status indication applications. Image: SICK.

With built-in IO-Link connectivity, the SICK Smart Light Tower can be configured to indicate real-time data from sensors and other devices and visualise changing levels such as fill, temperature, pressure, speed, item counts or cycle times. An optional Buzzer module can be added to the top of the tower allowing a range of effects to convey information in volumes up to 88dB. A choice of eight tone patterns promotes “audibility” in busy environments where one person is tending multiple machines or processes.

As an IO-Link device, installation and connection of the  Tower are both easy, and device replacement is straightforward. The Smart Light Tower is mounted in a through-hole using a moulded M30 male thread or on a pole via an integral ½-inch NPT female thread. The electrical connection is made with an industry-standard M12 A-coded connector.

You can find more information about SICK and the Smart Light Tower on its website.

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